Cost of NHS Covid tests for UK arrivals reduced
The cost of NHS coronavirus tests for international arrivals to the UK have been reduced, the government has said.
Test and Trace tests have been cut from £88 to £68 for people arriving from green-listed countries and for those coming from amber-listed countries who are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the price of two tests for amber arrivals who have not had both jabs has been cut from £170 to £136.
The prices of all providers of day two and eight tests are to be reviewed.
It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid asked the competition watchdog to investigate “excessive” pricing and “exploitative practices” among PCR Covid test firms.
He said misleading pricing will be clamped down on and providers failing to meet necessary standards will be removed from the government’s approved list.
NHS Test and Trace advertises its tests alongside private companies’ packages and they are available to purchase to fulfil the government’s testing requirements for international travel.
This is the second time the price of NHS tests has been reduced; previously the cost of a day two and eight package was £210.
“I am determined to protect consumers and hardworking families from exploitative practices and ensure high quality tests are available at a reasonable price.”
‘Too many cowboys’
It is understood that if the review finds private companies are offering terms that are unfair and therefore unenforceable, enforcement action could be taken by the Competition and Markets Authority or Trading Standards.
If businesses are found to have breached consumer law, they could be subject to a court order to stop operating and told to compensate consumers.
“I am determined to protect consumers and hardworking families from exploitative practices and ensure high quality tests are available at a reasonable price,” said Mr Javid.
“Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop. The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety.
“Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off.”
Holidaymakers have complained of high prices and poor service from many of the 400-plus firms offering PCR tests and there have been reports that some have not got full accreditation.
According to reports, PCR test prices can range from as little as £20 to more than £500. There have also been complaints from consumers that they have not received test results or have been sent damaged PCR kits.
The government said providers must use laboratories that are either accredited or undergoing accreditation by the independent United Kingdom Accreditation Service, and that businesses that fail to meet standards will be removed from its list of approved providers.
The CMA has previously said formal investigations can take a long time, but in this instance it will provide advice to Mr Javid with a view to taking swift action.